#31 Tyler Hodges makes a fantastic save in the third period.
By Malcom Cooke
The Nanaimo Clippers fell 4-0 to Alberni Valley Bulldogs in preseason action on Friday night. This marks the first loss of the preseason for the Clippers, who won last week in Victoria. Both Clippers' netminders saw action in the game with Tom Kiesewetter starting the game and Tyler Hodges finishing it out. Nanaimo was outshot through two periods but ended up outshooting Alberni 34-29. Nanaimo will look to bounce back on Saturday night in a rematch against the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs opened the scoring on an odd dump-in bounce that found its way past Plymouth, MA goalie Tom Kiesewetter for an early 1-0 lead. It took a while for the 2023-24 Clippers to gel on the ice, as passes and positioning seemed to favour the Bulldogs early. The Bulldogs took a 2-0 lead midway through the first period, scoring on a broken play. Kiesewetter made two brilliant saves to keep the game at 2-0. Coincidental minor penalties led to more open ice. Neither side was able to capitalize. The Clippers had a short-lived power play that was cut short after Brett Merner tripped a streaking Bulldog. The play saved a goal but eliminated the Clippers' chance with the extra skater. Nanaimo was given a second power-play chance prior to the end of the first period. The Clippers headed into the locker room after being outshot 11-10 and trailed 2-0 in the game.
At the start of the second period, the Clippers' power-play unit was unable to cut into the Bulldog’s lead. The Bulldogs netted their third goal of the game shortly after returning to even-strength, taking a 3-0 lead. Nanaimo was given their third power-play of the game minutes after Alberni Valley scored, but the Clippers could only muster a single shot on goal. Nanaimo nearly broke the shutout in the second period. Returning forward Joel Plante wired a shot off the crossbar that was steered aside by Bulldog goalie Callum Tung. At the midway point of the second period, the Clippers swapped goalie Tom Kiesewetter for Gormley, Ontario goaltender, Tyler Hodges. Hodges managed to turn aside the first few shots he faced. The Clippers were granted a fourth power-play chance in the second period that quickly turned into a 5 on 3 in Nanaimo’s favour. Unfortunately, the Clippers could not take advantage. The Clippers headed into the second intermission still trailing 3-0 on the scoreboard and 19-17 on the shot clock.
The third period started with coincidental minor penalties for each team. During the 4 on 4 play, the Clippers could not make a dent in the score. Returning player Willyam Gendron made a spectacular spin move to get space in the middle of the attacking zone but was turned aside by Tung. The Clippers earned their 8th power-play of the game midway through the third but were once again denied by Callum Tung. The outcome would be the same for the Clippers' 9th power play as well. Pressure by the Clippers was turned up in the third period but any attempt to mount a comeback was stifled by Callum Tung. The Bulldogs added a late empty netter to seal a 4-0 preseason victory.
Willyam Gendron earned the FortisBC Energy Player of the Game for his efforts. Alberni Valley Bulldogs swept the three stars. Goalie Callum Tung took home first star with the shutout. Jimmy Lyvers and Tristan Taylor rounded out the remaining stars. Nanaimo can hope for some immediate revenge on Saturday night, as they match up with their Coastal Division rivals again.
The next Nanaimo preseason home game is Wednesday, September 13 against Cowichan Valley. The regular season home opener is scheduled for Friday, September 22 against Cowichan Valley. Tickets can be purchased at the Frank Crane box office on game day, or at tickets.nanaimoclippers.com.
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